Tess Ames
20th May 2021

ORBITAL PIs awarded esteemed Professorships at WIT

ORBITAL is thrilled to announce that lead investigators on Project 4 and Project 9, Dr Helen Hughes and Dr Peter McLoughlin, were recently ratified as Professors at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).

“This was a rigourous evaluation process carried out by external assesors and the Professorships Evaluation Panel,” noted Professor Willie Donnelly, President of WIT, in a campus-wide email announcement.

Professor Peter McLoughlin

Professor McLoughlin, PI on Project 9 in ORBITAL, has been at WIT for almost 28 years. During that time, he has served as lecturer, research PI, programme leader, Head of Department, Vice President for Research, and as Head of School. He has supported 25 PhD through graduation, with 18 currently working in the Pharmaceutical/Smart Materials space. He has facilitated a number of funding submissions to national, EU, and international organisations, leveraging over €28 million.

“The awarding of the ‘Professor’ title is, in my opinion, an acknowledgement of the contribution and support of my many colleagues, friends and family over many years. I would like to sincerely thank them for this support and look forward to continuing the journey,” McLoughlin stated.

Professor Hughes, Supervisory Board Member and PI on Project 4 in ORBITAL, has been at WIT for 26 years, where she has actively participated in research, teaching and engagement. With 44 peer reviewed research publications, numerous conference proceedings, graduating 20 PhD students and currently supervising 7 more, Professor Hughes contributions to WIT are immense. She has also facilitated numerous funding submissions, leveraging over €12 million in research funding.

Professor Helen Hughes

“I have always felt that to be part of the community in WIT means that you have to contribute to the Institutes strategic development and academic excellence,” says Hughes. “Therefore, I have been involved in Academic Council, the Strategic Working Group, Department of Science Research committee, School of Science Programme Leader committee, School of Science Promotions Committee and The Research sub-committee of the Academic Council for many years. I trust that through these bodies I have made contributions to Institute policy and decision making. I have also learned a lot from my involvement in these groups resulting in a more focussed, Institute lead and strategic approach to both my teaching and research. ”

The ORBITAL-ITN is focused on ensuring the Early Stage Researchers within the consortium receive the highest quality training and development throughout their tenure. Professors McLoughlin and Hughes embody this ethos in their continued commitment to innovation, excellent training, and open science.

“The current ORBITAL project is one which typifies the many positive attributes of working in a collaborative research environment with patient advocacy groups, industry, medical professionals and a multidisciplinary research team focussed on a challenge of international significance,” notes McLoughlin.

Dr. Fitzhenry

Dr Laurence Fitzhenry, ORBITAL Project Coordinator, noted that both Hughes and McLoughlin have played a vital role not just within ORBITAL, but in the research community.  “Both have demonstrated significant contribution to their research field but also to WIT, the research ecosystem of the region and Ireland, and continue to positively impact the scientific community globally.”

Celebrations will be held at WIT when the opportunity to gather in person is made available. To read more about ORBITAL, click here. 

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